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Unbeaten U.S. Stalled By Rain In Americas Cup

By Orin Davidson
Fate dealt the United States senior cricket team a damaging blow yesterday (Friday (August 25) as rain interrupted a masterful display by the squad at the Americas Cup cricket competition in Canada.

With two victories in the bag and en-route to an upset victory over pre-tournament favorites and World Cup bound Bermuda yesterday, the clouds opened and rain thundered down to cause abandonment in the key fixture which was likely to determine the competition’s winners.

Lennox Cush (Photo by John Aaron)

At one stage, led by run hungry, in-form captain Steve Massiah, the U.S. were racing along to a possible 300-run total in the 50 overs a side clash, off the strong Bermuda attack.. With Massiah going great guns on 77 not out and prolific Sushil Nadkarni unbeaten on 63, the U.S, were 158 runs for one wicket off 27 overs, scoring at more than five runs an over at the first of several rain interruptions.

At the time the innings was reduced to 40 overs after an early lunch, and when the penultimate stoppage came, the U.S. were still going strong on 213-4 off 34 overs. When play resumed, the lost time resulted in Bermuda starting their innings and they were struggling at 14-2 off two overs when the umpires pulled the players off for bad light, after Bermuda were set a Duckworth/Lewis target of 163 in 25 overs.

The outcome means the U.S. will have to rely on good weather today (August 26) to give themselves a chance of winning the competition by defeating Canada in their final game.

But the forecast is not good, as it is expected to rain again today, which if it results in another abandonment, Bermuda would be crowned champions as they would’ve completed their campaign comprising three wins and yesterday’s abandoned encounter.

At the conclusion of the innings yesterday, Massiah was celebrating his third straight brilliant batting display, hitting 81 to follow up on a blistering century and a another cracking half century from his team’s two completed games.

He found an equally avid run hound in India-born Nadkarni who also has a ton to his name in the series, making his debut for the U.S.

U.S. team official Carlyle Miller said the rain was a bitter blow to the team, making a comeback to international competition as a new-look young outfit.

“Everyone here felt we were likely to defeat Bermuda and it is unfortunate there are no provisions for rain,” Miller told Cricket International from the Maple Leave ground in Toronto yesterday.

“It is an impressive display so far, the batting is clicking, the bowlers are sharp and it is noticeable, the fielding is more energetic,” he said of the squad.

In their two completed games, the powerful U.S. side brushed aside the Cayman Islands and Argentina to setup the crucial clash with Bermuda after hosts Canada were shocked to an eight wicket defeat to the former team on Tuesday.

Against Cayman Islands, Massiah and Nadkarni pulverized the attack to pave the way for an emphatic 106-run victory on Monday.

The new U.S. captain Massiah hammered 136 not out and Kadkarni, stroked his way to 111 to lead them to a mammoth 300-2 in their allotted 50 overs. In reply Cayman Islands were bundled out for 194 in 42.1 overs. Paaceman Imran Iwan led the rout with three wickets for 47 runs from eight overs while his opening partner Steve Pitter bagged 2-21 and off spinner Chintan Patel supported with 2-30. F’ Hinds and J. Linton topscored with 33 each for the losing Theo Cuffy coached team.

The U.S. then followed up by thrashing Argentina by eight wickets in their second game on Wednesday.

They were hardly made to break a sweat by rolling over the South American minnows at the Maple Leaf ground, spearheaded by a compelling Man of the Match performance by Lennox Cush who celebrated his U.S. debut in fine style.

Massiah and company were not afforded the opportunity to plunder another 300-odd target as they lost the toss and Argentina decided to bat first. It allowed the bowlers to stamp their authority and they obliged, restricting the opposition to 182 all out in the penultimate over.

Cush got his first real bowl of the series and was frugal and effective as expected, bagging 2-30 from nine overs. Iwan was again among the wickets, capturing three, but conceding an expensive 51 runs tally in the process. Medium pacer Khawaja Shuja got into the act with an impressive 2-22 haul.

Cush then returned with the bat to slaughter Argentina’s attack with a hurricane 73 off only 42 balls to spur the U.S. to 183-3 in 27.2 overs. Cush who batted at number five outscored everyone including Massiah who hit a patient 54 not out batting at number three.

A Ferguson made a fine 57 and D. Forrester 43 for Argentina amid the carnage.
Weather permitting, the hard hitting U.S. team will hope fate smiles on them today to entertain the Canadian fans more and sweep the Americas Cup in the process, via a superior run rate to Bermuda, by notching their third win in the competition.

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